The UK government has announced new legislation preventing employers from using confidentiality clauses, also known as confidentiality agreements (NDAs) to prevent individuals from disclosing information to police, health and regulated care professionals or legal practitioners. An alert lawyer must be consulted to verify the contract and determine whether the disclosure of the evidence you have collected is authorized by law, despite the agreement. Under certain laws, such as the False Claims Act, whistleblowers may be required to oppose legal action or a counter-action by the company for damages related to the breach of the agreement. During the consultation, it was proposed that employers be held accountable for the number of transaction agreements entered into by the NDA and other similar clauses, as well as the number and nature of the discrimination and harassment rights they had received. “While there is no indication as to when the new legislation will come into force, employers should now review the confidentiality clauses in employment contracts and settlement contracts to determine if changes are needed,” Corden said. Legislation will mean that employer confidentiality clauses cannot be used to prevent individuals from going to police, doctors or lawyers who have concerns about issues such as discrimination or sexual harassment. Legislation is also put in place to ensure that the NDA`s limits are clear to those who sign it and to improve the independent legal advice available to workers when signing transaction agreements at the end of employment. The Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted a rule prohibiting agreements prohibiting the disclosure of data by a staff member to the Agency. SEC Rule 21F-17 prohibits taking steps to enforce or participate in the application of a confidentiality agreement to prevent a person from discussing with the Commission a possible violation of securities law. The only exception is an agreement to protect the information covered by the privilege of the client lawyer.
As companies discover the identity of a storyteller in an unsealed action, confidentiality agreements are a problem for some Storytellers under the False Claims Act. Many people have provided information to the government, although they have signed an employment contract that excludes some form of activity. The documents produced by their employer were even made available to the government as part of their disclosure, although the agreement was reached. The decision follows a consultation on the proposals (28 pages / 639KB PDF). While the government recognizes that there is a legitimate place to use confidentiality clauses signed as part of an employment contract or conciliation agreement, they should not be used to intimidate victims of harassment and discrimination. As part of the legal constraints in force, ACF1 may provide a professional with any information it deems relevant to the professional function.